Being the one ultimately responsible for the spirit and mission of the Oblates and for the welfare of each one, Eugene, as Superior General, had vetted two of the young men who wanted to enter the novitiate and become Oblates. He wrote to the novice master, Casimir Aubert, to give his impressions and warnings.
… I happened to be at Calvaire when the two Italians arrived there. After a long conversation with them, I came to the conclusion that the one lacked the capacity while the other was lacking in virtue. Father Albini, in whose hands I left them, is sending them on to you for you to make a definitive judgment. I don’t want you to have the wool pulled over your eyes, which is why I am writing again this evening. In the first place I see no possibility of admitting the one who is sub-standard in intelligence. He did very badly in school, he was sent away from the Jesuit college for the precise reason that he did not succeed in his studies. It is some teacher in the town who pushed him through his studies in double quick time. What is more he expresses himself with great difficulty. I don’t think he is cut out for us.
The other one has a bad appearance, a crooked smile, a fastidiousness about his grooming that makes one suppose he thinks he is an attractive young man. I don’t think he has the least idea about the religious virtues and it could well be has come for some ulterior motive…
In short, it seems to me it would take a miracle for him to acquire the religious virtues and it would worry me a lot to introduce to the novitiate a young man infected with vice, especially when he shows not the least sign of religious fervour, in case it should prove harmful to men who have a real need of good example.
After all these warnings, Eugene advised:
Even so, I am not making a definite pronouncement for his exclusion. If you think you have the courage to set about his conversion, trusting in a miracle, you are free to try, but be on your guard, don’t deceive yourself, and above all exclude any idea of admitting him [ed to become a novice] before he has had an intensive trial for one month.
Letter to Casimir Aubert, 2-3 October 1834, EO VIII n. 487
Nothing upsets me more than having to send anyone away after the ceremonies of entry into the novitiate. Why not give ourselves enough time to form a reasonable judgment on them? In this case it is clear that the young man in question cannot be admitted.
Letter to Hippolyte Courtès, 30 November 1834, EO VIII n 496
Thus Fr Aubert did not have to trust in miracles!